E-mail is for grown-ups and U.S. teenagers now prefer instant messaging to communicate with each other online, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

Internet users from 12 to 17 years old say e-mail is best for talking to parents or institutions, but they are more likely to fire up IM when talking with each other, the nonprofit Pew Internet and American Life Project found.

E-mail is still used by 90 percent of online teens. But the survey found greater enthusiasm for instant messaging.

Three-quarters of teen Internet users use instant messaging, compared with 42 percent of adults, Pew said. Nearly half of teens said they exchanged IMs daily, and some said they spent more than two hours each day using instant-messenger programs.

Half or nearly half of the 1,100 teenagers surveyed said they used IM to send Web links or photos to each other, while nearly one-third said they had sent music or video clips over IM. Adults were much less likely to do any of those things, the survey found.

Nearly nine out of 10 teenagers say they use the Internet, up from 74 percent in 2000. Those are who still not online are likely to be so poor that they have limited access to technology, the survey found, and are disproportionately black.

The survey, conducted in October and November 2004, has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

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